Mission San Juan Bautista
About the Mission
The Mission of St. John the Baptist, called "the oldest sister of the missions", is a chapel of colonial architecture and full of endless symbolism. During its planning, Father Menéndez identified the limits of the neighborhood, looking for the center in order to build the mission.
After speaking with Daisy Perez, she commented that her husband, Ricardo, had deposited for a plot of land and that it was not going to be used. When Father Jose Luis went to see the land, he realized that he was in the perfect place "between what appeared to be a playhouse and a brothel".
Members of this community, with a strong Puerto Rican presence, knowing where the mission would be built, cleaned the place and they placed a cross and a virgin on it. At the same time, they met every Saturday to pray the rosary and do various activities to raise funds for the new mission.
While this construction process was taking place, Father Pedro Corces celebrated mass in the auditorium of the Buena Vista elementary school, placing a portable altar and "little by little the ministries for the cult were created, as well as a community that represented the people of the area "remarked Father Corces.
However, not everything was going well for the first Corpus Christi mission. In the year 1990, a revolt broke out in Wynwood in which there was a lot of violence, looting and fires due to the verdict of not guilty of six police officers accused of killing the narco-trafficker Leonardo Mercado.
The revolt, which stretched from 36th Street to 29th Northwest through the second avenue, left many homes burned and looted. The shoe shop of Reina was sacked and the statue of St. John the Baptist stolen. Father Jose Luis remembers that after that fateful night, “the Mission of San Juan Bautista emerged from the rubble of the shoe store.”
The community says that three days after the riots, in Reina's shoe store, they put carpets and chairs for the mass and they tell that they even had to serve as altar servers. Nearly 150 people came and many sat on the floor. Father Pedro Corces said about that day that it was like a semi-Easter Vigil in which "the resurrection of the community from its ashes" was celebrated.
The first stone placed in the Mission of San Juan Bautista was blessed and placed by Monsignor Agustín Román, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami, on January 13, 1991. Later on June 15, 1996, Archbishop John Clement Favalora dedicated the Mission of San Juan Bautista and from that moment the majority of parishioners saw this mission as the beginning of the rebirth in Wynwood.
Now, San Juan Bautista is located in Wynwood, the new center of entertainment for residents and tourists of the city of Miami. The place is surrounded by renovated buildings and multicolored murals, in addition to a number of galleries, restaurants and shops.